CAPA's 2020 Year in Review – Celebrating Milestones


In a year where all our lives were turned upside down, our industry suffered desperately, and the health of travellers and colleagues became the focus, celebrations of wins have been few and far between.

Here at CAPA, we have tried our best all year to put the industry first and provide knowledge and understanding on navigating these uncertain times.

We therefore thought we would take a moment to acknowledge the hard work of our team around the world and celebrate some important milestones you may have missed in 2020.

  • CAPA celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2020, highlighting its global network of aviation researchers and analysts.
  • The 2nd Annual CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit took place in February 2020, discussing key issues in aviation regulation and policy.
  • CAPA Chairman Emeritus Peter Harbison's prediction on the aviation industry's bankruptcy due to COVID-19 made international news in March 2020.
  • CAPA launched a virtual Masterclass series in April 2020, attracting over 2,300 registrations and discussing the future of the aviation industry.
  • CAPA's news product reached one million articles published in May 2020, providing comprehensive coverage of global aviation news.
  • CAPA launched the Air Capacity Projection Model in June 2020, offering insights into air capacity projections in key markets during the pandemic.

Jan-2020 - CAPA turns 30

In 2020 CAPA celebrated (albeit very quietly), its 30th birthday.

Established in 1990, CAPA has developed a formidable global network of aviation researchers and analysts located across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

We continue to provide members with access to more than 400 News Briefs each day, as well as Analysis Reports, Research Publications and a comprehensive Data Centre, with extensive company profiles, airline and airport databases, and more.

Feb-2020 - 2nd Annual CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit 2020 in Doha

In Feb-2020 CAPA hosted the 2nd Annual CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit 2020 in Doha. The Summit once again invited senior aviation and transport executives, regional and national regulatory authorities, ambassadors, officials and members of academia, to tap into the latest developments in aviation regulation and policy over two days of meaningful and inspiring discussion.

The high-level forum examined key issues, such as regional and global aviation policy trends, liberalisation, the US Big 3 campaign, EU comprehensive agreements, the increasing role of politics in aviation, and the role of ICAO.

At the Summit CAPA's Chairman Emeritus, Mr Peter Harbison said: "CAPA continues to pioneer discussion on critical developments that have a significant impact on the aviation industry. Aviation regulation remains a focal point for discussion in the Middle East and across the globe. It's crucial that we continue to dissect key issues around ownership and control, open skies and market access to ensure the industry propels forward".

That was, unfortunately, the only "real" event we were able to complete before the world changed.

Mar-2020 - CAPA prediction makes international news

As the full scale of the coronavirus became apparent, in Mar-2020 CAPA Chairman Emeritus Peter Harbison releases his prediction on the aviation industry, urging governments to help sustain the industry in the wake of COVID-19. An insert from the article is below:

"By the end of May-2020, most airlines in the world will be bankrupt. Coordinated government and industry action is needed - now - if catastrophe is to be avoided."

"As the impact of the coronavirus and multiple government travel reactions sweep through our world, many airlines have probably already been driven into technical bankruptcy, or are at least substantially in breach of debt covenants. Cash reserves are running down quickly as fleets are grounded, and what flights there are operate much less than half full."

"Forward bookings are far outweighed by cancellations, and each time there is a new government recommendation it is to discourage flying. Demand is drying up in ways that are completely unprecedented. Normality is not yet on the horizon."

The statement was based on then-cash reserves of airlines, where demand (and cash flow) had almost entirely dried up. Even worse, many throughout the travel industry found themselves in the unhappy position of having to refund more money than was actually coming in.

Fortunately, for the industry, governments then stepped in and provided much needed support for many airlines; it also remained possible to raise capital from existing assets, including substantial amounts from Loyalty programmes.

The result however has been an airline industry that will be heavily indebted for years to come, with IATA projecting a debt burden of around USD200 billion by mid-2021. That alone will ensure an emerging industry that looks very different from previous profiles.

Apr-2020 - CAPA launches virtual Masterclass series

In response to global restrictions on travel and in person meetings, CAPA launches its virtual aviation Masterclass series. The first CAPA Masterclass attracted over 2300 registrations, including 900 airline executives, and centred on providing a global big picture overview of our industry and where it will be in the next few years.

Discussions throughout the series included:

  • The shape of markets around the world after expected exits from key airlines;
  • Which markets will bounce back?
  • The reasons for decreased demand and combatting this;
  • Likely survivors and consolidation scenarios. Will national pride allow for cross-border consolidation?
  • Fleet sizes and how this will drive future orders;
  • The impact of state-aided survival and whether more could be done;
  • Leisure vs. Corporate: who will drive demand in the first phase of capacity resumption?

May-2020 - CAPA news product reaches the one-million milestone

Launched in its current form on 14-Oct-2008, CAPA's news product reached a remarkable milestone in May-2021, with its one millionth article published.

More than 400 news briefs are published each day, capturing information from a variety of sources and languages, enhanced by CAPA's own databases, information direct from airlines and suppliers, and from social and conventional media sources around the world.

Jun-2020 - CAPA launches new "Air Capacity Projection Model", supported by OAG

In Jun-2020 CAPA launched a series of interactive data models designed to build and interpret projections of air capacity in key markets.

The CAPA Air Capacity Projection Model provides an effective breakdown of each nation's domestic and international outlook for seat capacity, supported by OAG - as well as each city and route pair - based on the 2019 actuals.

Combined with government statements, airline network announcements and capacity projections and an array of current data, the model continues to provide a robust and granular guide for future air capacity projection.

CAPA's Air Capacity Projection Model applies assumptions around six key phases; Zero/Grounded, Skeleton, Acutely Restricted, Basic, Restrained, and Standard.

Regularly updated and constantly reassessed on the basis of numerous inputs, including CAPA's daily 300-400 global aviation news items, the CAPA model helps users interactively track the pace of recovery in their relevant market.

Jul-2020 - CAPA Launches new product to help airports grow revenue

CAPA and an expert team of industry specialists launched a new product in 2020, to help airports explore new ways of protecting and growing revenues.

Reinventing Airport Revenue Streams post-COVID-19 is a unique and comprehensive product to help airports navigate through the challenging months in 2020.

The product included: a complete re-evaluation of how total airport revenue - aeronautical and non-aeronautical - is generated; and guidelines for navigating the recovery process.

Aug-2020 - CAPA's new Aircraft Interiors Database expands Fleet Database

CAPA announced the launch of its Aircraft Interiors Database. Fully integrated with the existing CAPA Fleet Database, and with more than 43,000 aircraft listings for more than 600 airlines worldwide, the unique resource encompasses the most extensive global commercial fleet interiors records, adding access to rich and unrivalled insights.

Encapsulating the most visible aspects of this fast growing sector, the database includes seat models, dimensions and manufacturers, inflight entertainment (IFE), wireless inflight entertainment (W-IFE) and inflight connectivity (IFC).

The database also includes a dedicated focus on personal electronic device (PED) transformations - information which is imperative to the ongoing discussion and to the future decisions on touchless interactions post-COVID-19.

Sep-2020 - Blue Swan Daily merges with the Corporate Travel Community

In September 2020 the Blue Swan Daily website merged with our dedicated corporate travel buyer network, the Corporate Travel Community (CTC), to create a single comprehensive global platform and further enhance the wealth of resources available to the industry and our growing global membership base.

The merger has provided corporate travel buyers from around the world with unparalleled access to strategic intelligence, research and data resources, available all in one place.

By combining the strengths of the Corporate Travel Community's training, virtual events and network with Blue Swan Daily's highly respected news and analysis platform, we're able to create the most comprehensive corporate travel hub that covers all corners of the globe.

Oct-2020 - CAPA launches digital series, with 1:1 networking - CAPA Live

Although we had completed a small number of virtual replacements for our popular global in-person events during the year, we quickly recognised that live events would continue to be uncertain and unpredictable, so that a reliable alternative virtual had become essential.

So, commencing 14-Oct-2020, CAPA launched the first of its monthly digital series - CAPA Live, which includes a host of interviews and discussions with the highest calibre of aviation and corporate travel thought leaders in the world. We also committed to a programme for a 12 month series.

The digital series has welcomed industry leaders and has included Emirates President Sir Tim Clark, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, WestJet CEO Ed Sims, industry legend Bob Crandall and Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka. It has also regularly addressed a range of key topics with industry experts, covering airline distribution, industry digital developments, Frequent Flyer Programmes, and corporate travel.

As is customary for all CAPA events, CAPA Live also features comprehensive analysis and data insights, covering all regions, delivered by CAPA's expert analyst team and underpinned by the overwhelming expertise available across Aviation Week Network's portfolio.

The CAPA Live platform has also allowed for industry interaction and reconnection with small group breakouts, exclusive Roundtable gatherings, and online 1:1 networking opportunities.

Nov-2020 - CAPA proudly supports Air Transport Month

CAPA joins parent company in the first, Aviation Week Network's Air Transport Month, a virtual content programme running 09-Nov-2020 to 04-Dec-2020. The event was designed to bring together the global air transport industry to share insights on the current state of the market.

The first-of-its-kind programme spanned a full month and included the following events:

  • CAPA Live: 09-Nov-20 to 13-Nov-2020
  • ATW Leadership Forum: 16-Nov-20 to 30-Nov-2020
  • Routes Reconnected: 30-Nov-2020 to 04-Dec-2020

The digital programme was anchored by a dynamic landing page on AviationWeek.com and powered by Aviation Week Network's air transport portfolio, with leading editorial, event and data brands, including Air Transport World (ATW), CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Aviation Daily, Routes, Fleet Discovery and Airport Strategy & Marketing (ASM).

Customers and industry professionals had access to:

  • Reporting from conference sessions, including CAPA Live and Routes Reconnected;
  • In-depth journalism, intelligence and data - to engage and enable the discussion around key topics that are shaping the air travel industry's future;
  • Cutting-edge content channels, including webinars, CEO interviews, videos, and photo galleries;
  • An expanded 'Marketplace' that connects buyers with more than 12,000 suppliers.

Dec-2020 - CAPA Live hits attendee milestone with over 2,500 registrations

The third and final instalment of CAPA Live in 2020 reached an important milestone in the month, with more than 2,500 registrations confirmed.

CAPA's important digital series is aimed at supporting the industry with a variety of high-profile guests and thought leadership, and the industry is listening.

Happy holidays to all from all of us at CAPA and best wishes for a more conventional 2021!

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